Paul Strathern is a Somerset Maugham Award-winning novelist, and his nonfiction works include The Venetians, Death in Florence, and The Medici, all available from Pegasus Books. He lives in England.
Strathern combines diligent research with an exemplary narrative
verve and keeps the pages turning.
A vivid tale told in great detail.
De Medici alone is a fascinating and complicated figure, and Strathern draws a finely shaded portrait of a man who was both connoisseur of the arts and mob boss. But in his final years, de Medici encountered his one serious threat to perpetuating his family's rule: 'the little friar' Girolamo Savonarola. For Strathern, the battle was between Renaissance humanism and medieval absolutism, as Strathern illustrates in the climactic scene.
Grips the reader from the first page. It is an arresting and horrifying tale and Strathern tells it with immense skill and verve
This massive, mesmerizing, detail-rich, compulsive narrative of the collision between silver and the soul, Mammon and religious mysteries, will keep you turning the pages like the most propulsive of historical thrillers. Strathern balances both detail and narrative drive, so that you never lose sight of either one. The stories and intrigue and behind-the-scenes maneuverings will chill your blood as much as they excites it.
What stands out as much as anything here is the spark and quality of Strathern's writing, its wonderful ability to combine the sweep of history withthe intensely personal. In a single sentence, Strathern captures the broad currents of civic history, the magnetic presence of a remarkable individual, and the specificity of a liturgical and biographical occasion. An engrossing narrative of power, corruption and civic life, a vivid portrait of a city in crisis and the spiritual leader who embodied its aspirations and flaws.
This is more than a dual biography. It's a social and religious history, showing the tension that still holds between secularism and religion. A riveting narrative history.
An engrossing portrayal of the two legendary 15th-century figures who shaped Renaissance Florence. Well-considered prose. This enjoyable and pleasantly articulate look into the inner workings of two larger-than-life entities (the de' Medici family and the Church) offers unexpected insight into the theology, philosophy, and society that eventually cemented Florence as a Renaissance center of political and cultural import.